Prok Persimmon

jbe1August 29, 2007

Anyone growing this variety?

I recently purchased 2 Stark Bros. Prok persimmons from a local nursery. I'm puzzled by Stark Bros. website and catalog that says need 2 Prok's to pollinate each other. I've never heard of needing 2 of the same variety. I called and spoke with Stark customer service but they were zero help, only restating catalog position.

Does it produce male and female flowers? Would my Rosseyanka hybrid pollinate it? What's the mature tree size? How's the taste?



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I'm glad you asked that as I wondered the same thing. I had other persimmons so I didn't worry much about it, but it seemed strange advice. Actually, Stark has one or two other places I noted in even casual reading where the pollination advice seemed strange, or else lacking where needed.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 7:48AM
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I've got Prok, but it hasn't fruited for me yet. Original Prok tree in my orchard was killed back to the ground by the Easter big freeze disaster this spring, but thankfully, I had a 'backup', grafted last year, still in the nursery beds that survived.
It's a female selection, so planting another Prok - or any other female selection, for that matter - wouldn't help with pollenation or fruit set. Bad advice on Starks' part.
I've got Rosseyanka fruiting here, and have never noticed male flowers on it, so I wouldn't count on it serving as a pollenizer. If you have no native male persimmons in the area, you may need to plant a male pollenizer or one of the 'bisexual' males like Szukis or Claypool F-100.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 11:43AM
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I'm surprised it hasn't fruited for you yet, as one of the trees I purchased has 1 fruit already. I assumed the variety must be precocious, which is one of the reasons I bought it.

Also, what can you tell me about Rosseyanka? Tree size, flavor, etc.

This website
claims chestnut pollen will cause fruit set on American Persimmon.

Thanks for the responses.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 1:28PM
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My Prok was not in a very good spot - big shelf of sandstone bedrock quite close to the top of the ground where it was planted, and transplanting to that spot had sort of set it back some; never had grown as well as the next couple of trees uphill from it.
However, Rosseyanka & Keener are planted not far away - and I actually had to break holes in the bedrock with a spudbar to plant the seedlings they're grafted onto - but the seedlings had several years to get established and push their roots out into surrounding soil & cracks in the rock before I grafted them.
Rosseyanka tree, grafted probably in 2001(?) is about 9ft tall, has fruited for the past 2 years. Fruits are about 2.5" ripen late - after frost, but hang well on the tree. I had to snip the fruits from the branches and bring them in last winter(early Dec, maybe?). Flavor and texture is more reminiscent of an astringent-til-ripe kaki persimmon - the 'skin' is tough, and holds in the semi-fluid pulp, even when frozen/thawed, as opposed to Keener(a purported hybrid) which is, to me, just a large-fruited D.virginiana - fruit looks, tastes, and has texture like D.v.

The 'chestnut pollen setting seedless fruit on persimmons' has never been proven. That whole thing got its start with Elwyn Meader - "Meader" set seedless fruit there in NH(he had no 90-chromosome males), but when he sent scions to Jim Claypool in IN, it was seedy, just like any other native 90-C persimmon. Female flowers bagged to prevent pollenation at JC's orchard in IN and at Meader's orchard in NH both failed to set fruit. Meader postulated that chestnuts, which were in bloom at the same time, caused 'Meader' to set seedless fruit. But no one has ever done the appropriate test - bag female flowers and apply chestnut pollen - to prove that that is actually what happened.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 9:37PM
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Here's what Stark has to say about their persimmons in an email response to my question.

Hello JB,

Thank you for your inquiry. The persimmon pollination issues were being reviewed and, unfortunately, the catalog went to print as you see it. After consulting with our production department, they tell me that both the Prok and Yates American Persimmons are self-pollinating. And, in fact the Yates fruit is almost seedless when not pollinated.

The Prok fruit is described as very sweet when ripe and approximately 2 1/4 inches in diameter. Prok originated in the state of New York.

Though we can't reprint our catalog, our website has been updated. We apologize for the confusion.

Sincerely, Jenifer - Stark Bros.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 9:50PM
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It's semantics, to some degree,
but neither Prok nor Yates are 'self-pollenating'. They're both female selections, and to my knowledge(I'd have to go back and look at John Raymond & Don Compton's notes) neither is a member of the Early Golden/Garretson family, members of which are noted for sprouting occasional branches sporting staminate(male) or perfect(bisexual) flowers.
They may, however, set parthenocarpic fruits without benefit of a pollenizer, but that may be a situation commanded by specific environmental conditions at the time of bloom and fruit set.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 12:09AM
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Recently purchased a couple of fruit trees and a flower bulb from these guys. The persimmon trees looks great and the meyer lemon is blooming! The amaryllis bloomed within a couple weeks of getting her and is now firmly planted in the garden! Thanks for the good service and great plants.
Chuck, GA

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 5:54PM
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Do all female American persimmons produce "seedless" from due to being parthenocarpic?

I reall want Szuki's (I know I'm mis-spelling that) but I'm not finding it easily available (from nurseries whose shipping is less than the price of a plant).


    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 11:15PM
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Get szukis from Nollin River Nut Nursery (order it now for next year, or it might be sold out next year).

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 10:19AM
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The folks at NRNTN are friends of mine, but if they're sold out for this year, and you really want a Szukis - now - John H. Gordon has offered it - may have grafted trees available, or you can buy scionwood.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 12:43PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)


Do you have an updated website address for John H Gordon? I've searched high and low and can't seem to find one that works.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 2:22PM
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I spoke with Kum English today and one topic that came up was on 'Prok'. He said that 'Prok' is a seedling of the hybridization between Diospyros virginiana xkaki in a breeding program in NY - I forgot who he explained developed it. I guess then that would include the sister cultivar: 'Korp'. I think that maybe it was the work of John 'Nut' Gordon.

Does anyone know some more about this, or know anything to the contrary? It's a disappointment to me since I was searching for what would be the very best-tasting yet also large true American persimmon. Then perhaps it would be the Claypool I-94A, and another great one would be Wes Rice's Osage. Morris Burton would be too small to compete.

Chillis, you should contact England's Orchard & Nursery for any/all cultivars of American or hardy Asian Persimmon you would want; ask him if you can have him do a custom graft for you of I-94A or anything you want. He's EXTREMELY knowledgeable and a great guy to be sure.

I knew that 'Prok' had to be a hybrid seedling, even if a hybrid crossed with a D. virginiana, subsequently. The fruit, when halved, looks just like a D. kaki.



    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 3:43AM
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That explains why it has so many of the qualities of the "improved" kaki persimmons. That is rather disappointing that the nurseries that carry this cultivar don't list it as a hybrid. Many people buy American persimmons because they want to grow a native tree. I like the idea of developing our native plants to their fullest potential without hybridizing with other species. Thanks for sharing that info Steve.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 9:27AM
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Over the years a number of varieties of persimmon have been proposed as possible virginiana x kaki hybrids, but only the varieties Rosseyanka and Nikita's Gift are generally accepted as being such. The varieties Prok and Korp developed from the breeding program of Professor George Slate of Geneva, NY. While it is true that he did among many other efforts try to hybridize the two species, there is good reason to think he did not succeed, as subsequent attempts by many others in this country have proven fruitless. Add to that his northern zone 5 location where kakis don't grow well, and the task looms even larger. The Prok plant itself looks no different than other D. virginiana; Rosseyanka, on the other hand, has leaves that are reminiscent of each of its parents. So while it may be a hybrid, I don't think so. More likely, it gained entrance into the "hybrid wannabe club" based on its relatively large size.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 10:34AM
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I agree. There's nothing about Prok that makes me think there's any D.kaki in its background. It's just a large-fruited D.virginiana.
I've got a nice crop of fruit set on my Prok this year - already as large as the typical native D.v., and we're easily two months or more away from them being ripe.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 10:08AM
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Can anyone update me on Prok? I would like to know if she truly is self-pollinating, and if not, can anyone reccomend a male pollinator?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 6:41PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Prok persimmon is self-fertile. No need for a male unless you want to have seeds. England's Orchard or Starkbros nursery sell it.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 7:23PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

Since John Gordon passed, is someone operating his business anymore? I bought some scions from him a few years ago and was very happy. I grafted Szukis and NC-10, a very early selection. His website is still up.
ThanksJohn S

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 8:37PM
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I planted a Prok and Yates about 4 1/2 years ago. Both from Stark Bros. Neither have fruited yet. The Yates is 8 feet tall and Prok is 6 feet tall. I've been wondering what age/size they typically start bearing fruit.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 9:20PM
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